Bruce, the fall guy


Ice, ice baby

As I sit here today and rub my knee after a recent slip and fall on ice in our driveway, I’ve come to realize there are multiple stages of fallout from taking a tumble, and it varies according to age.

I’ll get into that in a bit. First off, let me preface this by saying I am generally very careful when it comes to walking in slippery conditions. It has been years since I took such a tumble. I’m willing to look silly taking baby steps to make sure I remain upright.

But not Monday morning. I left out our side door, went down the steps and walked down the driveway towards my truck. I got just past my wife’s vehicle when my left foot decided it wanted to travel sideways. Down I went.

It wasn’t the classic Internet-worthy slip and flip. This was a “whoops-and-ow” moment. I just went down, landing with most of my weight (and I am rotund) on my right knee.

Laptop case goes one way. Bottle of pop flies off down the driveway. And here I am looking like I’m practicing yoga in the downward dog position. OK, maybe full dog position as I was suddenly on all fours wondering what the heck just happened.

So, here I am, hands in the snow, knees in the snow, looking around to see if anyone saw my spill. I must have looked like a dog seeking a place to pee to anyone who might have seen me at that moment. Heck, I was close to my wife’s rear tire.

My knee was not happy. I went to get up and realized I’d better opt for a bit of support. So I asked Mary Beth, my wife (I called her from my cell phone) to unlock her vehicle. She did and I crawled over to the back door, opened it and helped hoist myself up back into a standing position.

I regained my items (a laptop case with snow in it and a bottle of pop that would surely explode if I tried to open it) and my composure, but was still searching for my pride. I think it had slid down the driveway into the storm sewer.

But off to work I went, assuring my wife I was fine, just a bit bruised up.

Except the leg stiffened up over the course of the day, despite me icing it regularly.

Still, when I got home, Mary Beth commented she was surprised at how well I was moving.

That didn’t last.

After falling asleep in the recliner, I rose to head to bed sometime after 3 a.m. My knee did not want to bend. It protested with every step, with the worst pain being right at the top of the kneecap. I had given my knee a good once over earlier in the day, so I didn’t think anything was broken.

Still, it just didn’t want to behave remotely normally.

That’ continued through into the next day. I worked from home in the comfort of a recliner.

The ice pack was on and off regularly and the pain meds were nearby.

By 3 a.m. the next morning, I got up to go to bed (don’t judge me) and found the pain was greatly reduced.

The next morning, it was even more improved. I was able to head to work without any problems, although I did walk down the driveway like I was about 102 years of age. But upright is all right in my books.

To get back to my earlier comment on the various stages of fallout from taking a tumble, I realize I am in the “advanced middle age” classification. It’s a long ways from “indestructible child” mode.

Kids can seemingly suffer the wildest of falls and get right up again. In most cases, they wait for their parents’ reactions to see how they should react. If a parent looks overly concerned, the child cries; if the parent laughs it off (after making sure the child is fine), the youngster continues to play as if nothing had happened.

Fast forward to the teen years, the “pop up” years. I remember suffering injuries playing sports, or just riding a 10-speed travelling too fast and taking a corner on what I thought was just wet pavement, not ice. Wrong! Down I’d go, sliding across the asphalt and putting a hole in the knee of a pair of jeans, scraping off some skin for good measure. Back then, I’d pop back up, hope no one saw it, and continue on my way.

On into your 20s and early 30s, the “why does this still hurt” years. Sprains and strains suddenly take longer to heal. A fall that scrapes skin has you pouring the peroxide on it and watching it bubble.

This was also the time where you still tried to right yourself to prevent a fall. Sometimes you’d do more muscle harm than any damage you would have taken actually falling. Chiropractors love when people behave in such a manner. Ditto for social media users as these often make for the best videos.

Once you hit a certain age, however, it’s “aww, crap” mode. You lose your footing and give yourself up to the fall. You are wise enough to know the damage from trying to keep yourself upright is likely worse than the fall.

From there it’s “whoops-and-ow” mode, followed eventually by the very serious “it’s my hip” concerns. Osteoporosis is no joke. I worry about broken bones whenever I see someone over the age of 70 fall. I can joke about my tumble, but I don’t laugh at folks aged 70 and older falling.

Hopefully, it will be years before I lose my footing like that again. I just hope I am fortunate and don’t ding myself up too badly.

A hurt pride is better than a broken bone or two any day of the week.


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